On paper, Heck Deck doesn’t sound like it’s going to work. It’s a bullet hell shooter with a card mechanic layered on top of it. That’s two concepts from different ends of the chronological gaming scale. And yet, when the game clicks, it’s absolutely brilliant.
The game sees you piloting a little ship by dragging your finger around the screen. When you lift your digit, time stops. That’s when you can choose one of the cards at the bottom of the screen to play. They can fire rockets, heal your wounds and more.
Those cards start off life as bullets fired by your foes. To pick most of them up, especially the ones that let you attack, you’re going to have to take some damage. You can heal that with cards, or with health drops that destroyed enemies leave behind. There are boss fights too, with larger enemies firing out more cards and taking more hits to destroy.
When you use a weapon card, you get a line showing the direction it’s heading in. You need to predict where the enemy you’re aiming at is going to be and use your attacks wisely. There are cooldowns too. Play a card and you’ll need to move around for a few seconds before you can use another one.
The game does take a while to click. The first few times you play you’re not quite going to get the hang of the timing, or pay close enough attention to the damage you’ve taken and the risk that you’re in. But after a while things slot into place, and you suddenly realize you’re playing something special.
Heck Deck still shouldn’t work. It shouldn’t be as much fun as it is, but here we are. These are crazy times indeed. Give it a download and find out for yourself how two completely opposite ideas can gel together to create something really special.